A little about Penny
August 3, 2011Haddock Sports
Hardaway's nickname came as a result of his grandmother's calling him "Pretty" with a southern drawl, thus sounding like "Penny." Hardaway was raised by his grandmother while his mother was away working. His first love was football but his grandmother did not want him to get hurt. He grew up in the Binghampton neighborhood of shotgun houses in Memphis, Tennessee. As a teenager, despite his rising popularity around the city, in high school, and the nation, Penny continued to work as a referee of youth sports at the Memphis Y.M.C.A and played on the Memphis Y.M.C.A Jr. Olympic basketball team as a youth.
Hardaway grew up playing basketball in Memphis for Treadwell High School, where he averaged 36.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists, 3.9 steals, and 2.8 blocks as a senior and was named Parade Magazine National High School player of the year. He finished his high school career with 3,039 points. Hardaway then committed to Memphis State University (known as the University of Memphis since 1994).
In the summer of 1992 Hardaway was selected to the 1992 USA Basketball Developmental Team that scrimmage daily against the 1992 Olympic Team. Penny was teammates with Chris Webber, Bobby Hurley, Jamal Mashburn, Rodney Rogers, Eric Montross, Grant Hill and Allan Houston. The USA Basketball Development Team was the only team to beat Team USA in 1992.
In Penny's freshmen year, he led the Tigers in a magical run to the elite eight. The run included a win over arch-rival Arkansas in the second round. Hardaway returned for his junior season (1992-93) and bettered his numbers from the previous season. He averaged 22.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 6.4 apg, 2.4 spg, and 1.2 bpg. He accumulated two triple doubles (then a rarity in college basketball), He was again named an All-American. He also was a finalist for the Naismith College Player of the Year and the John R. Wooden Award that are annually given to the most outstanding player in college basketball.
Penny Majored in Education at Memphis State, Achieved a 3.4 cumulative GPA, but passed up his senior season to enter the 1993 NBA Draft. In 1994, Memphis State retired his #25, Penny's number while playing for the Tigers. Penny returned to the University of Memphis in May of 2003 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in professional studies, 10 years after leaving school early to turn pro. Hardaway was named #5 on the list of top 100 modern college point guards by collegehoopsnet.com. Additionally, he was a leading vote getter on ESPN Conference USA Silver Anniversary Team.